One billion devices are expected to be connected to the mobile internet by 2016, and demand for connectivity will outstrip overall growth in the wireless market, according to new predictions from the UMTS Forum.
Mobile broadband will enable cost-effective deployment of 'always on' devices used for business and personal purposes, the organisation noted.
The largest area for growth in mobile communications is devices like gaming consoles, e-book readers, in-vehicle entertainment, home appliances and healthcare, explained UMTS Forum chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaimé.
"We encourage operators and consumer electronics vendors to collaborate on developing new business models, like revenue sharing, that reduce upfront investment risk while generating new sources of value," he said.
"[Operators] must play a higher-profile role in managing the whole customer experience, from novel routes to market and technology platform management to packaged offerings that help 'mobilise' devices."
Bienaimé added that cloud and media server-based products are expected to co-exist despite the growth of the mobile internet, and that Wi-Fi will remain the dominant form of connectivity used within the home.
The UTMS Forum stated that potential barriers to mobile broadband being used everywhere include market and spectrum fragmentation, chip prices and the need for a clear value proposition for LTE to be understood by consumer electronics firms.
However, the predictions appear to be conservative compared to figures from Ericsson released earlier this month.
The handset maker said that the rising use of tablets and smartphones will lead to a doubling in the number of mobile broadband customers this year to one billion.
Over 400 million subscribers are expected to come from the Asia Pacific region, and North America and Europe are each expected to have some 200 million mobile broadband users.
UK regulator Ofcom has also suggested that mobile broadband growth is exceeding expectations, reporting in August that increased smartphone use is driving data consumption, and that over a quarter of all UK residents now own an internet-capable mobile device.
However, poor speeds and inconsistent service continue to blight many connections and turn customers off mobile broadband.
Research from Broadband Expert last year argued that the technology does not live up to the hype, and that T-Mobile's introduction of a 500MB data cap for new and upgrading customers is evidence that operators are starting to struggle with the demand.
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